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    Few Sexually Active Women Get Chlamydia Test

    About Two-Thirds of at-Risk Young Women Miss Test for Fertility-Robbing STD
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    March 13, 2012 -- Nearly two-thirds of sexually active young women don't get regular chlamydia tests, a CDC study finds.

    That means more than 9 million young American women don't know whether they've been infected, study leader Karen Hoover, MD, MPH, said in a teleconference from this week's National STD Prevention Conference in Minneapolis.

    And the odds of being infected are pretty high: Chlamydia is the most common STD, as well as the most common reportable infection in the U.S.

    "There were 1.3 million reported cases of chlamydia in 2010, but the CDC believes the actual number is more than twice that -- 2.8 million new cases each year in the U.S.," Gail Bolan, MD, director of STD prevention at the CDC, said at the teleconference.

    Among women, nearly 5% of 19-year-olds and more than 1% of 15-year-olds are infected. Men are at least as likely to be infected. But it's women who suffer the most severe consequences. That's because chlamydia infection often is silent -- without symptoms -- until the infection becomes more serious.

    Left untreated, 10% to 15% of women will get pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). And up to 15% of those women will be left infertile. And some will die from chlamydia-related ectopic pregnancy.

    The CDC recommends an annual chlamydia test for any sexually active woman age 25 and younger. Women over age 25 should get annual tests if they have a new sex partner or have multiple sex partners. Routine screening isn't recommended for men.

    Chlamydia: Test and Retest

    When diagnosed, chlamydia is easily treated. But treatment isn't permanent, as Kelly Morrison Opdyke, MPH, and colleagues found in another conference presentation.

    Opdyke's Cicatelli Associates Inc. team studied 63,774 people who tested positive for chlamydia from 2007 to 2009. They found that 25% of men and 16% of women have a new chlamydia infection when retested within six months.

    And those are just the people who get another test. People who show up for screening tests tend to be healthier than those who don't. Yet only 11% of men and 21% of women got that chlamydia retest in the Opdyke study.

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